Divided Disciples

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

John13.34As Jesus ate his last meal with His disciples he continued to teach them by example. He washed their feet, an act of love and humility, and then commanded them to love one another. He knew they would need each other to survive the life ahead of them. He also knew that unbelievers would be drawn to Him if His disciples truly walked in love toward one another. 

I’ve often heard pastors say things like, “When we get to heaven we won’t be divided by denominations.” I agree, but I’d like to take that a step further and ask, “Why do we allow denominations to divide us now?” What does this say to the world around us? If our love for one another is key to others knowing we are disciples of Christ, what are we teaching them? 

I understand the reason for various denominations. What I don’t understand is that much like politics we allow our differences to divide us, rather than allowing the ’cause of Christ’ to unite us. I don’t have to agree with you to love you. I don’t have to agree with you to treat you with honor and respect. My belief system doesn’t make me spiritually superior to you in any way. 

It breaks my heart when I see Christians criticize other Christians on social media or in general conversation. We (all who follow Christ) are ONE body. In essence when we bicker among ourselves it’s like beating yourself up (self-hatred), and it plays right in to the scheme of Satan to divide and conquer. 

“Love one another.” It’s not optional. The next time you disagree with a brother or sister in Christ, don’t throw them under the bus. Go to the Father and intercede for them. Refuse to allow the enemy to use you to create discord. 

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being a perfect example of love and unity.  Teach me to guard my mouth. Help me to speak life and blessing over others rather than allowing my words to wound. Remind me to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ with the same passion I pray for myself. Forgive my sins and create a clean heart within me. Help me to reflect You in everything I say and do. Let others recognize me as Your disciple by my love for others. Bring restoration to Your body, Lord. Help us to love one another as Christ loves us. There is power in our unity. Break through the walls that divide us. AMEN

Representing Christ

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

IMG_1537When we become a Christian, we become “New in Christ”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we always ‘act’ like a new creation. As we grow in our walk, our character should begin to change and become more Christ like.

Colossians 3 is broken into 3 sections:
(1) Shedding the carnality of the old man.
(2) Adapting the character of the new man.
(3) Instruction for the Christian home.

I encourage you to read this chapter today.

Verse 17 is found in section 2 and tells us to do everything (in word or deed) in the name of the Lord. We are His ambassadors, His representatives. Everything we do and say should reflect Him. This goes beyond our interaction with believers. Our relationship with Christ should impact every area of our life … personal, professional and spiritual.

Even after being a Christian for many years, I often fail to reflect Christ. It’s easy to allow my emotions to override or rule over my spirit. It can be very discouraging, and yet it is also a constant reminder that my strength is found in Him, not in my abilities. Thankfully Jesus is always willing to forgive me when I fail.

However, I still need to have the humility to go back to those I act inappropriately around and ask their forgiveness as well. Sometimes it makes all the difference in the world about how that person views Christianity. I Corinthians 8:9 admonishes us not to be a stumbling block to those who are weak (in faith).

PRAYER:
Lord, thank You for Your Word and the wisdom You give me through the Word. Help me to remember that everything I say and do should reflect you. Help me to crucify the old me and adopt the character of Christ. Forgive me when I fall short and give me the courage and humility to acknowledge my sin before those I may have caused to stumble because of my words or actions. AMEN